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tv   America This Morning  ABC  December 9, 2010 4:00am-4:30am EST

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making news in america this morning. >> get this done. the president's plea to fellow democrats who dislike his tax cut compromise. he warns, without it, recession could come roaring back. money man. a congressman known for e marks is picked to control the nation's spending. will he change his ways? and police say they have solved the mysterious murder of a movie publicist in the heart of beverly hills. good morning, everyone. thanks for being with us. today, the senate is poised to debate the controversial tax cut
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deal that's putting president obama in the crosshairs of members of his very own party. >> as the white house scrambles to win over furious democrats, it's insisting the compromise had to be reached for sake of the economy. emily schmidt is joining us with more. >> reporter: good morning to you. the tax cut deal that's headed to the senate floor creates an unusual push for votes. by and large, republicans have lined up with president obama. it's the democrats who need convincing. president obama says the tax deal debate is good. but it's time to get things done. >> the american people are watching. and they're expecting action on our parts. >> reporter: for the white house, action means persuasion. president obama working the phone. vice president biden on capitol hill trying to convince wary house democrats to make the compromise a done deal. democrats said, while many voice support for the white house -- >> there's also numerous members who stood up and had a great deal of problems with the deal
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that was proposed. >> reporter: white house economic adviser, larry summers, wept so far as to say if democrats defeat the deal, there's a much larger risk of a double-dip recession. >> i'm not sure it will pass in its current form. i don't know. nobody knows the answer to that. >> reporter: democrats are angry about estate tax cuts. and measures to extend bush era tax cuts for the highest earn earners, in exchange for extension of the unemployment insurance. republicans say the deal is ready. >> we've reached a bipartisan agreement. it's time democrats in congress reach a similar conclusion and enable us to act for the good of the whole country. >> reporter: president obama worked to explain his thinking in a conference call to democratic supporters last night. he told them he put up the best fight on tax cuts he could. bottom line, he said, the votes weren't there. vinita and rob? >> emily schmidt, in washington.
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thanks, emily. in the senate, a key vote on the don't ask, don't tell policy, has now been put off by the democrats. a test vote on that policy was put off last night. but a deal to gain support of fellow republican senators fell apart at the last minute. republicans are getting ready for next year when they have a majority of the house. and some of the choices are turning heads. such as the man they have picked to control taxpayer purse strings. he is known for big spending back home. our jon karl talked to him. >> reporter: meet hal rogers. i understand you are the incoming appropriations chairman. >> that's what they tell me. >> reporter: he's the man republicans have chosen to run the most powerful committee in congress, the one that controls the government's purse strings. >> our federal spending is off the charts. >> reporter: an odd choice for a party that wants to cut spending. rogers has been called "the prince of pork." he's funneled so much money in pet projects to his district
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that his hometown of somerset, kentucky, has been dubbed "mr. rogers' neighborhood." over the past 2 years alone, he's responsible for 135 pet projects, called earmarks, at a cost of about $250 million. there's $52 million for the so-called national center for hometown security, located in his hometown and chaired by a big donor to his campaign. and there's the daniel boone parkway -- or there was, until 2003, when it was renamed the hal rogers parkway after he got federal money to do away with the tolls. and most recently, $5 million for groups that help wild cats. one of the few that qualify, the cheetah conservation fund, where his daughter works. you have been known as the prince of pork. have you changed your ways? >> well, sure. the electorate told us, i think, the number one thing they want is to cut spending. >> reporter: meanwhile, republican leaders say regardless of rogers' long record of big government
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spending, that the appropriations committee is going to be working differently. its most important mission, not putting out money for pet projects. but cutting spending. jonathan karl, abc news, capitol hill. in other news, now, a baltimore man faces charges of attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction after a failed bomb plot. police say antonio martinez also known as mohammed hussein, parked what he thought was an suv loaded with explosives outside a military recruitment center. but it was all part of an fbi sting. and there was no actual danger. the fbi describes martinez as a lone wolf, with no known ties to a terror group. there's explosives in a house in san diego that it's considered too dangerous to enter. residents from more than 200 nearby homes cleared out yesterday, even though precautions have been taken to contain the fire. nearby interstate 15 will be closed in both directions, too.
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experts say it is a unique operation because never before has so much of the explosive hmtd be found in one place. a private company is a step closer to take over some of the duties now performed by the space shuttles. the company called space-x, launched a rocket into space. and for the first time successfully guided it back to earth. the test flight could pave the way for space-x to supply runs to the international space station, once nasa retires the shuttles next year. a south florida toddler is back home after taking himself on a solo adventure. surveillance video shows 2-year-old jaquell brown, getting on a city bus all by himself and taking a seat. he road for several stops before a good samaritan realized the toddler was alone. the police were called. and jaquell was reunited with his much relieved family. >> still smiling through it all. now, for this morning's weather from around the country. rain from seattle to portland and san francisco.
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up to three feet of snow in the cascades. and a foot in the sierras and northern rockies. snow also in the midwest, with up to four inches in grain bay and chicago. temperatures plunge here in the northeast. >> 29 degrees in new york. 28 in boston. warming up a bit in the south. 56 in miami. 30 in minneapolis. 33 in fargo. and phoenix will warm up to 73 degrees. and when we come back this morning, the company that got the biggest bailout makes repayment plans. and tax payers could profit. and if first appeared to be a professional hit job. now, police say that's not how ronni chasen was killed. and on top of that, the queen of soul reveals her fight against cancer.
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insurance giant, aig, has laid out its plan to repay what was the largest taxpayer bailout. the insurer has reached a deal that would allow the government to begin selling its stake in the company early next year. treasury officials expect to make a multibillion-dollar profit from its $182 billion rescue. morgan stanley is expected to rein in executive pay, as the rest of wall street is expected to hand out huge year-end bonuses. employees that do well, will get paid well. overseas stocks are rising across the board this morning.
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tokyo's nikkei average climbed 0.5% today. meanwhile, hong kong's hang seng is higher. and in london, the ftse opened higher. on wall street, the dow added 13 points yesterday. and the nasdaq was up ten points. federal regulators are considering ways now to prevent customers from getting caught in the middle of those fee disputes between cable companies and broadcasters. the fcc says it will now propose some new rules to protect viewers from losing their tv signal. part of the world series was blacked out for millions because of a battle between fox and cablevision. well, a new batch of billionaires has agreed to give away most of their wealth to charity. facebook founder, mark zuckerberg, is on the list of 17 tycoons that signed on to the giving pledge. the pledge was started by bill gates and warren buffett. it totals over 50 donors, including michael bloomberg and steve case.
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>> give it to good. not bad. coming up on this thursday, how barbara walters brought oprah to tears. a very emotional interview. and the president's newest tv appearance, with a challenge to scientists. i'm off to the post office... ok. uh, a little help... oh! you know shipping is a lot easier with priority mail flat rate boxes. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. plus, you can print and pay for postage online. and i can pick them up for free with package pickup. perfect! cause i'm gonna need a lot of those. wow! i knew i should have brought my sleigh. priority mail flat rate shipping starts at $4.90 only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
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the cold snap that stretched into the south this week didn't just affect people. sea turtles also had a tough time as water temperatures dipped. but a turtle hospital in north carolina came to the rescue, offering space heaters and blankets to warm up the cold-blooded reptiles. if you're headed out this morning, you can expect snow and ice on i-90 and 94, from minnesota to chicago. and i-9 a, from duluth to the twin cities. wet on i-5, from seattle to san francisco. snow-covered on parts of i-15, 84 and 90 in the northern rockies. >> if you're flying today, you can expect airport delays in seattle, san francisco, salt lake city, minneapolis and
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chicago. this morning, a major break in the murder of publicist to the stars, ronni chasen. >> police now believe they have solved that shooting and that a person of interest they tried to talk to last week was, in fact, the killer. >> we believe mrs. chasen was going to be the victim of a robbery. >> reporter: beverly hills police now believe that ronni chasen's murder was a random act of violence, committed by this man, harold smith. the 43-year-old transient with a criminal past shot himself to death in the lobby of a hollywood apartment building last week. now, tests reveal a match between the gun he used on himself and the murder weapon. >> the purpose of this was to tell you that it was a match. again, the firearm used to commit suicide in harold martin smith, is the same firearm that was used to kill ronni chasen. >> reporter: the 64-year-old famed publicist was shot five times in the chest from beverly hills, as he drove home from the premiere of the movie
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"burlesque." harold smith bragged to neighbors that he was the killer and was paid for the hit. >> we believe that mr. smith acted alone. we don't believe it was a professional hit. and i will tell you, it's an open and ongoing investigation. >> reporter: police say smith used his bicycle to ride up alongside chasen's car. they were led to him by a tip on the tv show "america's most wanted." a damaged cruise ship with american passengers is still a day away from port. we showed you these pictures yesterday of "the clelia ii." the ship is expected to reach argentina by tomorrow morning. a memorial service saturday for elizabeth edwards will be open to the public. the 61-year-old estranged wife of former senator john edwards lost her long battle with cancer tuesday morning. she left behind a letter to her
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children, with advice on all sorts of topics. how to pick a church. even how to pick a spouse. and knowing her time was limited, she insisted the family's christmas decorations be put up early this year. in other news, singer aretha franklin is reportedly doing well after surgery last week. several publications says she's suffering from pancreatic cancer. the reverend jesse jackson visited franklin and says, quote, her spirits are high. the surgeon general is out with a tough, new message for smokers. even one cigarette can trigger a heart attack. that's because the chemicals can damage the cells of nearly every organ. despite the harmful effects, 46 million americans have the habit. 443,000 americans die each year. millions more are exposed to the damage of secondhand smoke.
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another disturbing report out this morning. more than 30 million americans admit to drunk driving. that's about 12% of americans 16 and older. another 4% said they drove while drugged in the past year. those numbers are down slightly from earlier years. talk show queen, oprah winfrey, is getting emotional, as she prepares to wrap up her final season. during the taping of a barbara walters special, winfrey adamantly denied long-time rumors that she is a lesbian. and talking about best friend, gayle king, brought her to tears. she called her the mother that everybody would want and the friend that everybody deserves. the special airs here on abc, tonight at 9:00, 8:00 central. >> going to be sure i'll be watching that one. a surprise in the world of college football. university of florida ed hoch, urban meyer will resign after the bowl season. he led the gators to two national championships. now, for some pro sports, here's mike yam over at espn
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news. >> good morning. the knicks, they spent $100 million this off-season on amare stoudemi stoudemire, and a five-game winning streak. matching up against raptors. 34 points over the last 5. that's what amare is averaging. fourth quarter. it's a play here. stoudamire, 18 fourth quarter points. 34 and 14. ensuing raptors possession here. andrea bargnani, a career night for him. he ties the game at 110-110. ray felton. he had 28 points and 11 dimes. knicks six-straight. steve nash, most of the sun starters on the bench in the fourth quarter against the griz. ten seconds to play the game. tied at 88-88. hedu turkoglu. money well spent. he had 22. we're going to overtime.
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13 second tots play. zach randolph, 34 points, 17 rebounds. looking strong. griz win 104-98. college hoops now. vandy taking on 11th-ranked missouri. second half. vandy up by four. misses the three. feeding jeffrey tail we're the two-hand flush. vanderbilt up by six. later, they're trailing by three. john jenkins in the corner. buries that one. ties it at 70-70. we're going to overtime. in the extra session. we're tied at 82-82. marcus denmon. certainly good action. that will do it for sports. back to you in new york. president obama has appeared on discovery channel's "mythbusters" show with two missions. >> one was to get students more interested in math and science. and the other -- >> at the president's request -- >> i think we have a big one
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that hasn't been thoroughly tested. >> which one is that? >> archamedes, solar ray. >> the president skz "mythbusters" to give it a try. it didn't work. up next, a rock 'n' roll icon gets a pardon today. and is america's obesity crisis causing us to die earlier? crisis causing us to die earlier? new fiit's simple physics...e a] a body at rest to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation.
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i wonder what it could be?! what's in your wallet? and now, a look ahead to the stories we'll be watching on this thursday. the senate could start debate on president obama's tax cut deal as early as today. but the white house is still trying to convince angry democrats that failure to compromise could lead to a double-dip recession. there are reports that the lockerbie balmer, abdul basset all grab hi, could die at any moment. he was freed from prison in 2009, because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer. the centers for disease control released a broad report about dying, that includes a surprising statistic. that life expectancy here in america has dropped today. florida will pardon the doors' jim morrison about 40 years after he died. he was accused in 1969 of indecent exposure during a
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concert and was appealing the conviction two years later when he died. for some of you, your local news is coming up next. >> for everyone else, "america this morning" continues right after this.
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and finally this morning, thanks but no thanks to an opportunity of a lifetime. >> this morning, we meet the young man who has something better to do than play pro football. >> he turned down the new york jets and a possible shot at a super bowl ring. john berman explains why. >> reporter: for nearly every kid who steps on football field, this is his dream, to play in the nfl. keith fitzhugh was one of those kids. >> i always wanted to play football. it's all i thought about. eat, sleep, football. >> reporter: after college, he did get a small taste of that dream, playing on the new york jets' practice squad, before being cut this fall. he landed a job as a train conductor for norfolk southern railroad outside atlanta. >> i love riding the train. that has always been the back-up plan for me. >> reporter: but then something remarkable happened. yesterday, the jets called and asked him to come back and join the team. his answer? even more remarkable. >> i had to turn them down because i had a great job. >> reporter: the conductor said
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no. no to pro football. no to a near certain trip to the playoffs. >> people say, hey, they might have a chance to play in the super bowl. and i sit there and think. and i tell them, hey, you only got one mom and dad. >> reporter: one mom and dad he lives with in georgia. his father is disabled and can't work, his parents depend on his salary as a conductor to make ends meet. he would have made more for the jets. but there is no guarantee it would last. >> i could have been released again. it was about being a young man and not being selfish. >> i just appreciate him loving us that much. to say, i'm going to stay home with mom and dad and i'm going to help them. >> reporter: even the jets say his decision showed character. >> that's one of the reasons why we wanted that kid. >> reporter: keith fitzhugh is passing up one dream for another. >> he's a great kid. he really is. >> reporter: he might never be a great player. but he is already a great son. john berman, abc news, new york. >> selflessness. >> yeah.

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